Sky Jumpers was available as a Read Now on netgalley and y'all know I can't pass up a good Middle Grade. Sad...morethis review will go live on the blog10/11
Sky Jumpers was available as a Read Now on netgalley and y'all know I can't pass up a good Middle Grade. Sadly I didn't make it more than a few chapters in before setting this book aside.
World War III nearly wiped out civilization. A small settlement was formed in White Rock, Nebraska - in a large crater - and has since flourished. The war was devastating, not only wiping out nearly every bit of technology, but also leaving behind deadly pockets of gas known as Bomb's Breath. Many people have died after walking into the gas, yet the kids view it as a toy. Leaping off cliffs and into the gas - holding your breath, of course! - slows your fall and feels like flying.
There was far too much going on in the chapters I read. All technology has been wiped out in a matter of years and it's up to 12-year-old Hope's class to come up with new inventions. There was some cliff-jumping, lots of exposition detailing the loss of technology, and a large info-dump explaining that this poisonous Bomb's Breath was actually the result of a green bomb - US citizens learned their lesson after WWII and created a 'green bomb' in an attempt to save people..? I didn't get it.
Perhaps I didn't read enough - admittedly I stopped about four chapters in (though that was a sizable portion of the less-than-200-page book) - but Sky Jumpers just didn't cut it. I had a difficult time grasping the idea of this new world and, quite frankly, didn't care enough to read about the new inventions these children were creating.(less)
After an extremely impressive streak with YA Thrillers (Find Me & Dead Girls Don't Lie are two of my favorite 2013 releases!) I was feeling pretty confident about Poor Little Dead Girls. A boarding school's secret society has ties to the deaths of two girls - what's not to love?
Unfortunately, Poor Little Dead Girls spectacularly crushed every single expectation I had, including the hope of actually finishing (spoiler alert: I did, but it was a fight on both our parts).
Sadie is a star lacrosse player on her high school team back home in Portland. When she receives a scholarship from the elite Keating Hall - students of the school are all but guaranteed acceptance to Ivy League universities - she doesn't hesitate for a second. She quickly becomes fast friends with Jessica (seemingly the only other student who isn't uber wealthy) and her royal roommates. After their hard partying habits brought shame upon Britain's royal family, Trix & Gwen were shipped off to America where they'll hopefully stay out of the public eye. Don't worry about getting to know these two though - their presence is only acknowledged in passing and piles of dirty laundry until the very end when Friend pulls out the shocker: Gwen is into girls! Really now? Gwen's sexuality added nothing to the story, particularly since it came about at the very end, and felt tacked on simply to bring some sort of life to an otherwise dead story.
In the very (and I mean very) beginning, things looked promising. Sure, the characters were little more than stock personalities (particularly the Mean Girls), but that was something I could live with. Within a few chapters, however, I realized this book and I weren't going to become bosom buddies. Chapter 6 - an entire chapter - was devoted to discussing all the ~hot boys~ on the football team. An. Entire. Chapter. Also - and this should come as NO surprise - it is in this chapter that Sadie falls head-over-heels for a boy she has yet to speak to, and when she finally does, this is the conversation they have:
"Is yours [a test] on Monday?" "Yeah." "Ours, too."
When Jeremy turns to walk back to his own school, Sadie's stomach was 'now flipping around like a kid three doses behind on his Ritalin.' I suppose I could overlook this if the scene took place in the middle of the day after a class or something. Instead, this happened in the middle of the night after Sadie had been chased. Ain't no thang though - she simply forgets all about that now that there's a SUPER HOT BOY!!
Once Jeremy shows up, classes are no longer a priority. Instead, she obsesses over his jawline ("A part of her - the same part that led her subconscious through the same cheesy dreamscape every night - wanted to lean in and lick it"). Riveting stuff, guys.
But, Leah, I thought this was a murder mystery I hear you say. Turns out there's a SOOPER SEKRET SOCIETY. More than once Sadie wakes to find bruises on her body and doesn't think anything of it. Later - much, much later - we discover she was being drugged and kidnapped this entire time. Those bruises are from having her blood taken and analyzed to prove she's ~worthy~ and of course she passes. Believe it or not, here's where the crazy comes in. This society is two hundred years old - Thomas Jefferson founded it. Its members are among the richest people in the world and they plan on creating a new world power. Sadie's mother (who had died when Sadie was a child) was a part of this group although she broke all ties with them and her family to marry Sadie's father (see, to make sure genetics are pure, the society arranges marriages for its members). The other girl who had died at the school was also in the society - and also related to Sadie. At one point its revealed SADIE'S EGGS WERE HARVESTED. Just in case Sadie were to die or run away, another heir could be created.
Poor Little Dead Girls tried to pack WAY too much into a tiny story. There were multiple story lines that were introduced and went nowhere: Sadie witnessed a rape and shrugged it off like it was nothing and a fellow student (and one of Sadie's friends!) was being beat by her boyfriend but he's hot so it's okay. There was no consistency or coherency to be found and all of the action happened off-screen: "An hour later she finally stopped talking [explaining basically the entire plot to Jeremy - but not the reader]" "The next three hours were so much fun she started to get nervous."
The author couldn't even get the ending right. Sadie receives hush money ($1M is all this group could come up with? These are supposed to be the richest families in the world.) and begins applying to college with her bestie Jessica and looks forward to spending more time with Jeremy. ...and that's it. There isn't any kind of resolution or closure. Much like with the rest of the story, Sadie shrugs it off, leaving a very unsatisfied reader.
Other readers have mentioned Friend at least succeeded in nailing the voice of these girls, but I have to disagree. Instead of calling each other by, you know, their names, Sadie and her friends refer to one another as hooker, skank, hobag, etc. Yeah, I've never called my friends any of those. This name-calling caused some serious eyebrow-raising once the rape & abusive boyfriend plots were introduced.
Poor Little Dead Girls isn't a book I would force upon anyone. Trust me on this: stay as far away from this book as you possibly can. I SUFFERED SO YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO.(less)
Between that beautiful cover and - hello - SHANNON HALE, Dangerous was one of my most anticipated releases of 201...morethis review goes live on the blog3/4
Between that beautiful cover and - hello - SHANNON HALE, Dangerous was one of my most anticipated releases of 2014. Unfortunately I could only make it 147 pages in before throwing up a white flag and quitting. How is this from the same author of Princess Academy and The Goose Girl?? The only explanation I can come up with is that Hale has five books coming out this year. F-I-V-E. Clearly that had something to do with the lack of quality of Dangerous; this is not the Shannon Hale I know and love.
Maisie Danger Brown (yes, that's her real name) enters a sweepstakes on a cereal box for astronaut camp. Much to her surprise she wins and it's there the story goes downhill. Within 20 pages we have already met the two love interests (and she's already made out with one of them!). Had I known Dangerous was going to be a romance I wouldn't have bothered. Maisie's dream is to become an astronaut, yet once she meets Wilder, she can only think about him, her dream totally forgotten. Jonathan Ingalls Wilder (yes, that's his real name) is awful. He's dripping with wealth and despite his groupies that follow him everywhere, Maisie has somehow caught his eye. Get a load of this charmer:
"A home-schooled, black-eyed Latina." He whistled. "You are turning into a very ripe fruit for the plucking."
This comes from their first conversation. Wilder flip-flops with his feelings: he can't get enough of Maisie, yet any time she proves to be smarter than him, he immediately turns cold and starts chatting up another girl. What a guy.
The camp is run by a brilliant scientist I couldn't stand. I think she was supposed to be an aloof, head-in-the-clouds kind of scientist, but instead, she spends all of her time juggling. The greatest mind of our time, folks. She managed to build the Beanstalk, basically an elevator from Earth to an asteroid. Five campers are chosen to make the trip - Maisie, Wilder, Smart Asian Girl Who Likes Slushies, Beautiful-But-Mean Redhead, and French-African Boy Whose Cursing Is Bleeped (yep. bleeped.). While in space these five kids get to see alien artifacts and wind up absorbing their powers. Now instead of being human caricatures, they're human caricatures with super powers. Redhead turns into a Juggernaut-esque behemoth and can't stop eating. Slushie Girl can shoot things from her palms. Maisie discovers an ability to understand technology and build. The first thing she builds? A robot arm, thus rendering her disability (she only had one arm) completely pointless. Why bother having a disabled character if you're going to give her a special robot arm?
Things Happen (a fight breaks out and characters die) and the kids are on the run. Once Maisie's back home I lost any interest in Dangerous and judging from the reviews I've read, I didn't miss much by not finishing. Dangerous was SUCH a disappointment. Every single character was a personality trait rather than a person. Maisie's best friend Luther exists for the sole purpose of being another love interest. In his first scene Maisie comments on "how muscley" he's become - 7 pages into the book. There's a page-long joke that goes nowhere. All of the other campers virtually vanish once these five gain their powers.
Although the camp is for anyone 12-17, the writing felt more like a beginner's chapter book. Very short and simple sentences and any kind of explanation regarding space or technology is glossed over. Also, I'm still unclear as to when this novel takes place. At first I assumed the present day, but now I'm wondering if maybe it's set in the future? The characters discuss the Rolling Stones and the Beatles though so I'm not entirely sure.
If Shannon Hale's novels hold any kind of nostalgic feelings for you, do yourself a favor and avoid this one.
We were quiet, two tiny specks glued down by gravity, peering at a universe that didn't notice us back. The quiet and dark made me feel mysterious and stilled, a thing that glints in the dark, an object that can only be understood by careful study. Something like a poem.
I love me some Cotton Malone, so when I happened upon this e-book featuring not only Malone, but multiple other well-known characters, I immediately jumped at the chance to read it.
Ms. Rose has been on my radar for a while, but until I received this title I hadn't yet read any of her work. Going into the book, I kept an open mind despite my feelings that this basically amounts to fanfiction.
In Session is a short work comprised of even shorter stories. The main character, Dr. Morgan Snow, is the star of Ms. Rose's Butterfield Institute series. She's a sex therapist and while that didn't set off any alarms in my head, I was a bit worried to see how In Session would play out. Digging down deep into the minds of these men would be a fantastic read; raunchy sex scenes would not.
The first story in the book was coincidentally the one that made me want to read it in the first place: Extenuating Circumstances. Cotton Malone. I adore Steve Berry and his Cotton Malone series is among my favorites. Cotton owns a small bookshop in Copenhagen and it is there that the story is set. In an attempt to get Malone to talk to a therapist, a plan is hatched, ultimately leaving the story devoid of customers. A rare, erotic novel gets the ball rolling and, in the end, this story was the one I enjoyed the most (although I'm wondering if that wasn't because I'm already a fan of Malone's).
The second story, Decisions, Decisions lost me halfway through and it was there I walked away. John Rain is the patient in this story and from what I understand, he's an assassin? Unfortunately, I was unable to work up enough interest to keep going.
I had hoped for a quick, fun read, but was ultimately let down and bored.(less)
I feel like I missed something everyone else didn't. One of my biggest guilty pleasure is the preppy girl/goth boy trope (Nevermore, I'm looking at you ♥!). The Ghost and the Goth had been sitting in my To Read pile for ages and I finally had had enough. I was so certain I would love it: it seemed fun and fluffy & I was really surprised by the length!
Unfortunately, I didn't even finish the book. The main character, Alona Dare, irked me instantly. From the very first page I couldn't stand that girl. In the beginning of the book she rambled on and on about how being popular was so important and how it was something she'd been working on attaining (and maintaining) her entire schooling career. Quite frankly, I was happy she was run over by a bus.
Apart from Alona, the other problem I had with the novel was the alternating perspectives. I've read some books (The Forgotten Garden, for example) that executed dual narratives flawlessly. The Ghost and the Goth, however, didn't work for me. When the book switched to Will's POV for the first time, I was actually a little confused. I hadn't realized the story was now taking place from Will's perspective.
This book has garnered some really wonderful reviews and I'm pretty disappointed I couldn't join in with the praise.(less)
I was 12 years old when I was assigned this book and hated every second of it. It seems that others like it quite a bit, but they were all much older...moreI was 12 years old when I was assigned this book and hated every second of it. It seems that others like it quite a bit, but they were all much older when they read it, so perhaps my age had something to do with it.
It's not often I completely abandon books - I normally stick with them until the end - but I nearly threw this book across the room after just a few chapters. It is honestly the worst book I have ever read. If it was possible to give a book less than one star I would. It was truly awful.(less)
Oh, how I wanted to be madly in love with this book. I'm a huge Poe fan and when I first heard of The Poe Shadow, it seemed like it'd be right up my a...moreOh, how I wanted to be madly in love with this book. I'm a huge Poe fan and when I first heard of The Poe Shadow, it seemed like it'd be right up my alley. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Truth be told, I can't remember a book I've ever hated more than this one. I'm not one to abandon a book - I'll definitely plow on to the very end, but I absolutely could not get through this.
For two years I've attempted to finish it. I kept coming back to it, hoping it would get better until, finally, I decided I've had enough and set it aside for good.
Judging from the other reviews, it seems that I'm not the only one who was extremely disappointed with this book.(less)